William Lloyd Garrison: First Liberator Editorial

(1831)

Impact

According to Garrison, the first issue of the Liberator was met with “suspicion and apathy” (Nye, p. 48). The exception was the free African American community of the Northeast, which gave the publication significant support. Garrison visited Philadelphia, New Haven, Hartford, and other cities to drum up interest; by the end of 1831, he counted more than five hundred free blacks among his subscribers. Although the Liberator's paid circulation remained small for some years, its impact was far greater than the number of copies sold indicated. Its attacks upon the American Colonization Society stirred up debate within abolitionist circles across the North. Newspaper editors across the South reprinted its editorials as examples of northern antislavery extremism, increasing Garrison's influence and importance in the process. (Garrison in turn happily reprinted the denunciations of his fellow editors.) Even though it had no subscribers in the South, the Liberator was...

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William Lloyd Garrison (Library of Congress)

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